Bilateral relations between Qatar and the Philippines are expected to soar to new heights with the state visit of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to Qatar from April 14 to 16.
"Duterte's visit is expected to further boost employment opportunities for Filipino workers and professionals who are seeking greener pasture in the region," a Philippine government official told Gulf Times.
Labour matters, as well as other concerns, could be tackled in a separate forum during Duterte’s three-day state visit. He is set to meet with HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
A delegation from the Department of Labour and Employment, led by its Secretary, Silvestre Bello III, is part of Duterte’s official entourage, including other government and business officials.
Meanwhile, a delegation from Qatar’s Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs is also currently in the Philippines for the Joint Bilateral Commission on Labour Matters, according to the official.
“All these concerns can be possibly raised when a head of state visits a country and it may also include pardoning of Filipinos who are serving different sentences,” she said.
“Cases related to bank loans may not be included because it will have implication to commercial (and financial) establishments.”
Duterte’s visit is also expected to witness the signing of agreements between the two countries on co-operation and collaboration in the field of health, culture, and technical – vocational education and training.
The official said health co-operation includes joint research; exchanges of expertise, best practices, health practitioners, health care professionals, technical information; recognition and qualification of Philippine medical degrees; visit of specialist; and training.
The Philippine embassy in Doha has proposed to the Qatar government to have a Qatar-Philippines Year of Culture in the coming years, hopefully before the FIFA 2022 World Cup.
A possible addition to the agreements is one on visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports.
Duterte is also expected to meet with members of the Filipino community on April 15 at the Lusail Sports Arena.